GK IPA Championship preview - Round 23


Currently sat at the bottom of the table, Jersey need to claw back a two-point deficit on Ealing Trailfinders in this weekend's final round of fixtures otherwise the club's stay in the Greene King IPA Championship will be over after a couple of seasons. Saturday's 25-17 defeat to London Scottish was the fourth loss in a row and saw the Reds slip to the bottom of the division for the first time this season. JRFC beat final day opponents Bedford 26-14 when the sides met at St Peter back in September, so there is hope and belief in the camp.

From being 12 points adrift of the rest of the division a month ago Ealing Trailfinders' destiny is now in their own hands as the regular season draws to a close. Ed Siggery's last-minute try against Plymouth Albion earned them their third win in four games and another victory against Rotherham Titans at Vallis Way on Saturday would guarantee them their place in the division for another season regardless of how Jersey fare at Goldington Road. Ealing were given a rude awakening about life in the Championship when they played the Titans at Clifton Lane in Round 2, conceding 10 tries in a 79-9 defeat.

A 25-21 win over nearest rivals London Welsh on Good Friday means Bristol Rugby are guaranteed top spot in the Championship at the end of the regular season for the third time in five seasons. Ben Moses, with a double, and George Watkins and Mitch Eadie got on the scoresheet in front of a season's best crowd of 8,061. The result leaves Bristol eight points clear at the top going into the final game of the season away to London Scottish. Scottish were beaten 31-18 when the sides met at the Memorial Stadium.

London Welsh have vowed to use the painful memory of last weekend's loss to their advantage should they face Bristol again in the play-offs. First up though is a visit from a Nottingham side who banished any lingering fears over relegation with a 29-24 bonus-point win at home to Moseley. Welsh have won seven of the last nine meetings between the sides, the most recent clash ending in a 46-19 win for the Exiles.

Welsh could relinquish their grip on second place should they lose and Leeds Carnegie beat Cornish Pirates at Headingley the night before. Carnegie have been given special permission to play on Friday night after the Leeds Rhinos, their co-tenants at Headingley, were drawn at home on the Saturday in Rugby League's Challenge Cup. Leeds won in the Duchy for the first time in five seasons when they played the Pirates at the Mennaye Field back in September. Last season's corresponding fixture was played at Cross Green, Otley and ended in a 37-25 win for Leeds.

Matches between Moseley and Plymouth Albion are typically tight affairs and there was nothing to separate the sides when they met at Brickfields earlier this season. Plymouth stormed into a 31-6 first-half lead but Moseley hit back to come away from Devon with a share of the spoils after a thrilling 34-34 draw. Only once in the last eight meetings has the winning margin been more than eight points.

Round 23 fixtures
Friday April 25
Leeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates, KO 20:00

Saturday April 26
Bedford Blues v Jersey, KO 15:00
Ealing Trailfinders v Rotherham Titans, KO 15:00
London Scottish v Bristol Rugby, KO 15:00
London Welsh v Nottingham Rugby, KO 15:00
Moseley v Plymouth Albion, KO 15:00

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